The Denver Broncos were clearly feeling the effects of not playing starters in preseason on Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks. It would seem that the Broncos would benefit from a good dose of caffeine.
Despite mental errors, penalties, and turnovers, Broncos Country’s hopes were dashed in the first game of the season. Further complicating matters, the Seahawks played more physically and with a higher sense of urgency.
It’s a credit to the Broncos that they fought until the end in their 17-16 loss. What was the most important takeaway from Monday night’s game? It’s about playing good football all four quarters to win in the NFL.
The good, the bad, and the ugly from Denver’s season-opening loss to Seattle.
It was refreshing to see Nathaniel Hackett’s new outside zone run scheme generate long drives after an offensive drought over the last few years. With a passer rating of 101.3, Russell Wilson completed 29 of 42 passes for 340 yards and a touchdown.
Seeing a Broncos quarterback throw for over 300 yards was refreshing. For most of the game, the Orange and Blue were able to move the ball down the field despite two devastating fumbles on the goal-line. Despite this, the offense stalled three times inside the 10-yard line due to penalties and defensive pressure on Wilson.
Seeing Hackett create opportunities for Jerry Jeudy to shine was great.
The unheralded position group on the Broncos’ roster contributed significantly to the offense’s success. In the first quarter, fullback/tight end Andrew Beck caught three passes that forced the Seahawks’ defense to adjust their tactics.
As a result of catching five passes, Albert Okwuegbunam assured that the chains continued to move. It was Eric Saubert and Eric Tomlinson who opened holes for the running backs.
Bradley Chubb | OLB
Chubb changed the course of the game with two timely sacks after a slow start.
In the beginning, the Broncos’ defense lacked intensity and willingness to be physical, which allowed the Seahawks to extend drives. The Denver defense allowed journeyman quarterback Geno Smith to look masterful at key points in the game.
There were two touchdowns and 195 yards on 23 of 28 for Smith. It was easy for him to find seams in the Broncos’ soft zone coverage. During the preseason, the Seahawks’ running backs gained additional yards after contact due to a lack of tackling at game speed.
A bigger role must be played by safety Justin Simmons, cornerback Patrick Surtain II, and outside linebacker Randy Gregory in future games.
There were two fumbles on the goal-line by Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams, which cost the Broncos 14 points. A fumble on the goal line by two different running backs was the first since 1987.
Monday’s loss is the responsibility of the players and coaches. The two groups were not prepared to compete at the level necessary to win. Despite the loss, the Seahawks prevailed.
Hackett’s decision to take his $245 million quarterback off the field to attempt a 64-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the game was the biggest miss. In my opinion, it was highly questionable.
Several lessons can be learned from Monday night’s game by the entire team. In the same way, Broncos Country should act.
In comparison to last year’s team, the Broncos did show improvement. The team is expected to bounce back against the Houston Texans next week.